Darren Johnston playing trumpet

Darren Johnston

Darren JohnstonCafe Coda — Saturday, May 7, 2022 — 8 PM

By Michael Brenneis

Interview date: 04/22/2022

Darren Johnston’s pandemic routine included lots of practicing the trumpet and composing. As things opened up he recorded three sessions of his music with different groups in New York and Chicago. The first of these albums “Life in Time” has now been released and will be showcased in Madison with his quartet of Chicago heavies.

For those keeping track: The name of the bassist Darren couldn’t remember is Joelle Leandre.



BallisterThe North Street Cabaret — Saturday, April 23, 2022 — 8PM

By Michael Brenneis

Interview date: 04/07/2022

Ballister is a trio of muscular disquisitive improvisors, whose palette is equal parts bombast, and subtle nuance. After thirteen years together and ten album releases, including this year’s Chrysopoeia, they’re still going strong.


Ken Vandermark playing tenor saxophone

Ken Vandermark

Ken Vandermark, Nate Wooley, Paul Lytton — Cafe Coda — Friday, April 15, 2022 — 7 PM

By Michael Brenneis

Interview date: 04/06/2022

When Ken Vandermark was last here with (air quotes) Laul Pytton, in March of 2020, although he didn’t know it he was days away from a canceled tour and an 18 month hiatus from the road. He returns triumphantly now with the full trio that was supposed to perform on that date – as his touring schedule ramps up to approach its pre-pandemic pace.


photo by Aleksandr Zykov on flickr

Craig Taborn playing the piano

Craig Taborn

Craig TabornCafe Coda — Thursday, April 14, 2022 — 7 PM

By Michael Brenneis

Interview date: 04/04/2022

Craig Taborn is one of the most brilliant and creative piano and keyboard artists working today. Someone who ordinarily prefers to let the music speak for itself, he was generous enough to join me on this program to discuss his history, and his conception, and approach — which are as deep as they are philosophical.